Three more Hall voters accuse Jeff Bagwell of being a juicer

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Via The Platoon Advantage, we come across three more Hall of Fame voters, all from Chicago, who have determined based on either (a) nothing; or (b) rumor or information that they posses but don’t feel is up to the standards of being published in a piece of ethical journalism,* that Jeff Bagwell did steroids and thus isn’t worthy of the Hall of Fame. They are Philip Hersh and Paul Sullivan of the  Chicago Tribune and Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald.

Hersh says “I’m still too suspicious about Jeff Bagwell to include him.”  Sullivan lumps Bagwell in with the “unindicted but suspected contributors to the PED mess.”  Gregor says “[s]uspicions of using “performance enhancing drugs” weigh heavily on my decision to leave off productive players such as Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez.”

Hey, their ballots. They can use ’em how they want to. I just hope for their sake no one judges their careers’ worth in such a fashion, because it’s totally harsh and unfair and I’d hate for them to have to go through that.

Anyway, if that makes you feel all icky, go read Posnanski’s take on such Hall of Fame votes in historical context. I think he hits it on the head when he talks about how these guys see themselves as something more than mere assessors of baseball performance and something more like gatekeepers with an inflated sense of their place in the process.

But hey, at least they’re keeping us and history all safe from, well, something.

 

*Hopefully this point is not considered controversial. Because it’s nothing more than simple logic. By definition, people either have actual information establishing that Bagwell did steroids or they do not.  If they do have it, they have not published it. And given how newsworthy such information would be, the only plausible reason they haven’t published it is because their newspapers would not allow them to do it because the information is thin and/or uncorroborated. So: such a stance as the one shown by these gentleman is necessarily either one taken with no information or with information that falls short of the standards to which they usually adhere in their daily work.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).